On This Day … 31 May

Events

  • 1223 – Mongol invasion of the Cumans: Battle of the Kalka River: Mongol armies of Genghis Khan led by Subutai defeat Kievan Rus’ and Cumans.
  • 1293 – Mongol invasion of Java was a punitive expedition against King Kertanegara of Singhasari, who had refused to pay tribute to the Yuan and maimed one of its ministers.
    • However, it ended with failure for the Mongols.
  • 1775 – American Revolution: The Mecklenburg Resolves are adopted in the Province of North Carolina.
  • 1790 – Manuel Quimper explores the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
  • 1795 – French Revolution: The Revolutionary Tribunal is suppressed.
  • 1805 – French and Spanish forces begin the assault against British forces occupying Diamond Rock.
  • 1859 – The clock tower at the Houses of Parliament, which houses Big Ben, starts keeping time.
  • 1862 – American Civil War: Peninsula Campaign: Confederate forces under Joseph E. Johnston and G.W. Smith engage Union forces under George B. McClellan outside Richmond, Virginia.
  • 1864 – American Civil War: Overland Campaign: Battle of Cold Harbour: The Army of Northern Virginia engages the Army of the Potomac.
  • 1884 – The arrival at Plymouth of Tāwhiao, King of Maoris, to claim the protection of Queen Victoria.
  • 1902 – Second Boer War: The Treaty of Vereeniging ends the war and ensures British control of South Africa.
  • 1910 – The South Africa Act comes into force, establishing the Union of South Africa.
  • 1911 – The RMS Titanic is launched in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
  • 1911 – The President of Mexico Porfirio Díaz flees the country during the Mexican Revolution.
  • 1916 – World War I: Battle of Jutland: The British Grand Fleet engages the High Seas Fleet in the largest naval battle of the war, which proves indecisive.
  • 1941 – Anglo-Iraqi War: The United Kingdom completes the re-occupation of Iraq and returns ‘Abd al-Ilah to power as regent for Faisal II.
  • 1942 – World War II: Imperial Japanese Navy midget submarines begin a series of attacks on Sydney, Australia.
  • 1962 – The West Indies Federation dissolves.
  • 1971 – In accordance with the Uniform Monday Holiday Act passed by the US Congress in 1968, observation of Memorial Day occurs on the last Monday in May for the first time, rather than on the traditional Memorial Day of 30 May.
  • 1973 – The United States Senate votes to cut off funding for the bombing of Khmer Rouge targets within Cambodia, hastening the end of the Cambodian Civil War.
  • 1991 – Bicesse Accords in Angola lay out a transition to multi-party democracy under the supervision of the United Nations’ UNAVEM II mission.
  • 2010 – Israeli Shayetet 13 commandos boarded the Gaza Freedom Flotilla while still in international waters trying to break the ongoing blockade of the Gaza Strip; nine Turkish citizens on the flotilla were killed in the ensuing violent affray.
  • Anniversary of Royal Brunei Malay Regiment (Brunei).

People (Births)

  • 1835 – Hijikata Toshizō, Japanese commander (d. 1869).
  • 1852 – Julius Richard Petri, German microbiologist, invented the Petri dish (d. 1921).
  • 1863 – Francis Younghusband, Indian-English captain and explorer (d. 1942).
  • 1882 – Sándor Festetics, Hungarian politician, Hungarian Minister of War (d. 1956).
  • 1892 – Erich Neumann, German lieutenant and politician (d. 1951).
  • 1892 – Gregor Strasser, German lieutenant and politician (d. 1934).
  • 1927 – James Eberle, English admiral (d. 2018).
  • 1927 – Michael Sandberg, Baron Sandberg, English lieutenant and banker (d. 2017).
  • 1964 – Stéphane Caristan, French hurdler and coach.
  • 1977 – Domenico Fioravanti, Italian swimmer.
  • 1984 – Milorad Čavić, Serbian swimmer.
  • 1986 – Robert Gesink, Dutch cyclist.
  • 1992 – Laura Ikauniece, Latvian heptathlete.

People (Deaths)

  • 1408 – Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, Japanese shōgun (b. 1358).
  • 1558 – Philip Hoby, English general and diplomat (b. 1505).
  • 1809 – Jean Lannes, French general (b. 1769).
  • 1945 – Odilo Globocnik, Italian-Austrian SS officer (b. 1904).
  • 1957 – Stefanos Sarafis, Greek general and politician (b. 1890).
  • 1983 – Jack Dempsey, American boxer and lieutenant (b. 1895).
  • 2011 – John Martin, English admiral and politician, Lieutenant Governor of Guernsey (b. 1918).
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